family

Settled

2016-10-17-18-30-02

I think that after 10 months of being “home” I can finally say that we are “settled.”  It’s been amazing to be back in the west and have the mountains in view every morning as the sun rises.  There’s beauty in the sunrise and beauty in the sunset.  I love the colors and the mountain as it transitions from season to season.

The leaves are changing color – and every time the wind blows, there’s a flurry of fluttering leaves that fall to the ground in every yard.

Alzheimer’s reminds me of the changing seasons.  While Mom’s memory and physical being continue to fade, her smile and gentle spirit hasn’t faded.  She enjoys conversation, but rarely joins in as the language that she once had command of becomes less available some days.

There are days, however, where she is outspoken, in command and can throw a few zingers out that are right there with the best of them.  She laughs, smiles and even requests to watch certain old shows from days gone by with stars she remembers from long ago…

She gives me oodles of opportunities to serve and honor the mother/daughter relationship that continues to grow every day.  We are continuing to find ways to communicate using language based on love and honoring the gifts she presented to us in our youth and we can now shower that same love and the treasured gifts on her in her aging.

Mom is settled — she is happy and thriving as best you can be at 84 and having Alzheimer’s. She no longer asks who sleeps in this room (hers) or is this my bed?  She has her good days and thankfully, they are more numerous than the bad days.  She enjoys our monthly family gathering time and marvels at how our extended family has grown – expanded beyond the grands into great grands.

Enjoy all the “settled” moments you can.

A Season of Joy and Love

Generally the holidays bring with them the hustle and bustle of commercialism and we get caught up with buying gifts, wrapping, mailing or maybe even doing online shopping and ensuring that the shipping of said gifts are taken care of. We plan parties or check our calendars often to make sure we can squeeze in one more event for our children, ourselves, our grandchildren or for work or church. At the end of it all, we’re exhausted and we Funny, Funny Mother has come to pass one more year again.

But with all the hustle and bustle, are we listening to those memories that come from our heart?  Those first stories we heard as children of the real meaning of Christmas – the reason of the season. A true celebration of Joy and LOVE.

68673_10151343108823792_560171338_n

December has always been a special month for me.  Traditions are important to many families – including ours. As empty nesters, we know that some of the traditions we had as a family our children have adopted and continue to do in their homes. Others, they are establishing of their own and what wonderful ones those are.

This year, we decided to establish a new tradition – and break an old one. We used to decorate the trees the day after Thanksgiving.  This year, we decided to hold off for a while and wait until after the first of December.  The trees are still not decorated.  You know, it’s okay.  I”m not devastated.  We didn’t turn on the Christmas music until the 1st of December, no hurry, no rush… there was a reason.  We wanted it to be for the right reason, not because the some commercials said to do so.

New tradition:  Elf on the Shelf!  We’re taking it a bit further than the norm.  Our elf is going to find greatness and report it – and not just to Santa.  He’s going to report it back to the person he sees doing it.  We want all of our family to be in on this.  It’s going to be an interesting experiment and we’re so excited that we already have something in place that allows us to make sure we can make that happen.  Our elf arrives on Tuesday and we’re so excited – the challenge will be naming him!

We have so much to be thankful for – and it definitely is a season of Joy and Love — one to be shared with family.  Start a new tradition with your family this year.  Let that tradition begin in your heart and spread outward.  Greatness begins in your heart.  Share the joy you feel this year with your family and friends by sharing a tradition, old or new.

To our collective greatness in the journey this Christmas season,
Jan

Nine words

“Never forget the 9 most important words in a family:

“I love you.”

You are beautiful.”

“I am sorry”.  H Jackson Brown Jr.

These are important keys to creating and solidifying relationships.  Our large family is spread across several states and time zones.  Our schedules don’t often jive and it’s hard to get together even for a phone call.  I treasure those times when we do join for a family dinner in a home or at a restaurant, gather around a phone for a few minutes to “catch up” on the news – or even better with technology being what it is, using Skype® to conference with the kids, the folks, brothers and sisters.

While texting seems to be a great way to get messages back and forth — it seems to lose something. I really do like some “face” time and seeing who I am talking to and seeing how the grand-kids are growing and changing from week to week or month to month.  We really do need to visit more frequently — HINT HINT!

And one more thing, I still treasure, is the old fashioned card or letter — although I don’t write many, I still enjoy sending a beautiful card and letter filled with a handwritten sentiment – and I hope the recipient enjoys the same.